Donald Trump has declared a “national emergency” as his administration imposed severe sanctions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
The president signed an executive order which – while it did not name Huawei – bars US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms deemed to pose a national security risk.
Hours later, the administration took further separate action as the commerce department added Huawei and 70 affiliated companies to a blacklist banning it from acquiring components and technology from US firms without government approval.
Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said Mr Trump backed the decision that will “prevent American technology from being used by foreign-owned entities in ways that potentially undermine US national security or foreign policy interests”.
Kevin Wolf, a former trade official in the Obama administration, said Huawei would be the largest business ever subjected to such controls.
He said they would have “ripple effects through the entire global telecommunications network”.
“Huawei affiliates all over the planet depend on US content to function and if they can’t get the widget or part of the software update to keep functioning then those systems go down,” Mr Wolf said.
US officials have previously labelled Huawei a threat and lobbied allies not to use its equipment in the development of new 5G mobile networks.
Huawei, which denies its products pose a security threat, said it was “ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security”.
A Chinese government spokesman said national security “should not be abused, and that it should not be used as a tool for trade protectionism”.
He added: “China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese firms.”
Huawei has attempted to calm security fears over its technology by offering to sign “non-spying” agreements – including with the UK government.
The company’s executive vice president Jeremy Thompson this week told Sky’s Ian King that it was willing to go the “extra mile” to reassure countries that it posed last month.
Sources confirmed last month that the National Security Council, chaired by Theresa May, had backed the use of Huawei technology in “non-core” 5G network infrastructure.
That was despite a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre and the US government that the company posed a threat.
While Huawei has always denied a link to espionage, it has a legal obligation to cooperate with China’s intelligence agencies.
The company says information has never been requested about its customers from the Chinese state and its founder has insisted he would rather shut down Huawei than accept any request to collect intelligence via its systems.
The issue of trust in the firm’s links to the Chinese government has become a wider issue for companies across China as the country’s trade war with the US escalates.
Washington accuses Beijing of intellectual property theft and forced transfers of technology.
Prolific crime gang behind £600m UK smuggling operation smashed by Europol | World News
An organised crime gang that earned hundreds of millions of euros in drug and cigarette trafficking, assassinations and money laundering has been smashed by Europol.
More than 450 police and customs officers in Spain, the UK, Poland and Lithuania carried out raids last week that led to the arrest of the suspected ringleader.
Investigators arrested a further 21 suspects and seized cash, diamonds, gold bars, jewellery and luxury vehicles worth €8m (£7m).
Interpol said gang members used counter-surveillance and counter-intelligence measures and encrypted communication in an attempt to evade detection.
Code-named “Icebreaker”, the operation is the biggest of its kind to date in Europe against such an organised crime group.
It is believed the group made an estimated €680m (£600m) between 2017 and 2019 alone by trafficking drugs and cigarettes into the UK.
The money would then be smuggled to Poland where it was laundered via currency exchange offices before being invested in real estate in Spain and other countries.
Initiated by the Lithuanian authorities in 2016, the investigation was referred to Estonia, Poland and Europol to help to gather evidence against top-level members of the network.
The investigation was then extended to the UK and Spain after criminal links were established in all these countries.
Former Uber driver Yusuf Abdi Ali responsible for torture in Somalia, jury finds | World News
A former Uber driver was responsible for torture while serving as a colonel in the Somali army in the 1980s, a jury has found.
Yusuf Abdi Ali, known as “Tukeh” or “Tokeh”, is alleged to have shot a teenager multiple times and left him for dead when an interrogation was interrupted by an insurgent attack in the east African country.
Earlier this month it emerged that Ali, who now lives in the US, was driving for taxi firms Uber and Lyft.
On Tuesday, a civil jury in Virginia awarded Farhan Mohamoud Tani Warfaa $500,000 (£395,000) after finding Ali was responsible for his torture.
Mr Warfaa, a member of the Isaaq clan in northern Somalia, told the court that he was herding camels and cattle for his family’s farm when he was rounded up in a mass arrest In December 1987 over a missing water-tanker truck.
According to the lawsuit, Ali ordered soldiers to bury Mr Warfaa but they realised the then-17-year-old was still alive and instead solicited a bribe from the teenager’s family to let him live.
During the case, Ali, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, acknowledged he had been a Somali colonel but denied torturing Mr Warfaa.
In its ruling, the jury rejected an allegation that Ali was responsible for the attempted extrajudicial killing of Mr Warfaa, even though the Somali citizen testified directly that it was Ali who shot him.
Ali’s lawyer, Joseph Peter Drennan, said the jury’s verdict indicated that it did not believe parts of Mr Warfaa’s testimony.
He added that Ali was only held responsible for torture under the theory that the soldiers who carried out the acts were under his command.
Mr Warfaa, who was helped by the Centre for Justice and Accountability to bring his case to court, said in a statement that the verdict was “a vindication not only for me, but also for many others in Somaliland who suffered under Col Tukeh’s command”.
Earlier this month, CNN reporters went undercover to take an Uber ride with Ali, who told them he worked for the firm and Lyft full-time.
Asked if the application process for drivers was difficult, Ali replied: “They just want your background check, that’s it.”
Ali drove for Uber for about 18 months after passing a screening process which included a review of his criminal history and a scan of government watchlists from the FBI and Interpol, according to the BBC.
Uber told the corporation that Ali has now been “permanently removed” from the app, while Lyft also reportedly said he had been banned from working for the company.
Saudi Arabia: Moderate Islamic scholars ‘to be executed’ | World News
Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to execute three moderate Islamic scholars despite the international outrage that followed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Sheikh Salman al Odah, a Muslim preacher with a million strong social media following, will be killed after the holy month of Ramadan say reports.
Amnesty International says more than 100 people have been executed this year, some beheaded and some crucified, including some younger than 18 when they were arrested.
Many of them have been Shia Muslims. The three named as next in line for execution are all Sunni.
Under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the Saudi regime has been even less tolerant of dissent than before.
Several women driving activists remain in jail even though the government has now ended the ban on women being behind the wheel.
Their relatives say they have been abused and subjected to threats of torture and rape.
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul caused international outrage last year and led to intense pressure on the country’s leadership.
The CIA and other observers believe it was carried out on orders from Mohammed bin Salman.
In an interview with Sky News shortly before his death, Mr Khashoggi expressed intense concern about the arrest of the three now facing execution, pointing out they were supporters of the kind of reforms their government claimed to be implementing.
The UK has defended maintaining close ties with the Saudi regime. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has visited the country several times since the Khashoggi murder.
The Foreign Office says those ties help the UK influence the Saudis.
But if these latest reports are true, such influence has failed to change minds in Riyadh.
The Saudi leadership appears undeterred and determined to continue its policy of zero tolerance of dissent with lethal effect.
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